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The 7 - Baseball - Pads outifelder killed in car accident Register and log in to post!
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odessasteps
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#1 Posted on 15.2.02 1720.18
Reposted on: 15.2.09 1729.10

From ESPN.com:



PEORIA, Ariz. -- San Diego Padres outfielder Mike Darr was killed and a minor league pitcher was injured early Friday when the vehicle they were riding in rolled over on a Phoenix freeway.

Another man in the vehicle -- 23-year-old Duane Johnson, of Reno, Nev. -- also was killed in the accident. Authorities said he was a longtime friend of Darr.


Darr, 25, was San Diego's opening-day center fielder in 2001, his first full big league season, and started 69 games.


Ben Howard, a 23-year-old pitcher who played for San Diego's Class-A and Double-A affiliates last season, was treated at the scene and released, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Frank Valenzuela said. The team said he sustained scrapes and bruises.


"This is a very, very difficult thing to begin spring training with," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's such a tragic loss."


Bochy said Darr "was a fun-loving guy who played the game like it was supposed to be played. He played all-out and that's going to be missed."

Johnson played one season in the Philadelphia Phillies minor league organization, but was not currently affiliated with a pro team. He played football at Fullerton College, a junior college, in 1999 and was planning on coming back this season, according to school sports information director Eric Mendoza.

His father, Don Johnson, is an assistant football coach at UCLA.


Padres closer Trevor Hoffman broke down and cried when talking about Darr.


"We've lost a special teammate, a special person," Hoffman said. "There are a lot of heavy hearts in the locker room. There's a lot of shock in the clubhouse right now. ... You don't want to believe it.


"Michael was a free spirit. He was a happy-go-lucky guy. He embraced life. He embraced everybody in a special way. He always had a smile that lit up the clubhouse."


Last year, Darr made 24 starts in center field and 45 in right, where Tony Gwynn hardly played because of leg injuries. Darr moved into the starting lineup after Ruben Rivera was released in spring training but eventually gave way to Mark Kotsay, who was obtained from Florida just before opening day.


Darr was good defensively but didn't have much power, hitting just two homers last year. However, both were game-winners in the Padres' last at-bat. He batted .277 with 34 RBIs.


Darr was the Padres' minor league player of the year in 1997 after being obtained from Detroit with another player for second baseman Jody Reed late in spring training.


In 2000, Darr shared the Padres' minor league player of the year award with Jeremy Owens. Darr hit .344 with 9 homers and 65 RBIs in 91 games with Triple-A Las Vegas.


He was recalled to the Padres on July 31. In his first game following the recall he hit the second pitch he saw for a two-run homer against Philadelphia. Darr also played in five games for San Diego in mid-April 2000 before returning to Triple-A.


The crash occurred about 2 a.m. MST. Friday was the voluntary reporting date for pitchers and catchers.


Darr became the second player in the Padres organization to be killed in a car crash in less than year.


On July 29, minor league pitcher Gerik Baxter was killed near Indio, Calif., when a rear tire on his pickup blew out, causing the truck to swerve into another car and roll several times. Oakland Athletics draft pick Mark Hilde, a passenger in the truck, also died.


"This organization, we've been through this before," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said. "More than anything, it's about family."


Valenzuela said Darr was driving and it appeared the accident was alcohol related.


"We all realize that drinking and driving is not a good mix," Towers said. "We're not sure of all the details yet, but that is certainly something that we don't condone."


The vehicle apparently drifted into the dirt center median, then the driver overcorrected, Valenzuela said.


It rolled across three lanes of the freeway and crashed through a fence, coming to rest on a frontage road.


Valenzuela said Darr and Johnson were not wearing seat belts and were ejected while Howard was in the back seat and was wearing a seat belt.


Howard, a right-hander who was a second-round pick in the 1997 amateur draft, was 8-2 with a 2.83 ERA with Class A Lake Elsinore and 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA at AA Mobile.


He was selected to the California League All-Star team while with Lake Elsinore.


Towers said Howard was shaken up by the accident.


"He was conscious throughout everything and he saw it all," Towers said. "I'm sure psychologically, it's going to be difficult for him."


Darr is survived by his wife, Natalie, and two sons, Mike Jr. and Matthew.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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#2 Posted on 15.2.02 1728.52
Reposted on: 15.2.09 1729.16
Heard about this earlier today. It's really sad... the guy was so young and it seems so easy to have avoided this.

I can't really say much more without sounding contrite. I feel for his family.
odessasteps
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#3 Posted on 15.2.02 1830.45
Reposted on: 15.2.09 1832.16

Rob Dibble, of all people, was very good talking about this on the Kornheiser show today. (I've not yet listened to the tape of the Patrick show, to see how he was on there.) He talked about how teams, especially in spring training, try to give alternatives to their players to prevent drinking and driving.

SerWolfe
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#4 Posted on 15.2.02 1951.55
Reposted on: 15.2.09 1954.45
It's a shame to hear about this kind of stuff happening with anyone.... i feel for everyone in the situation.... i wish no one had to go through these things....
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#5 Posted on 15.2.02 2356.45
Reposted on: 15.2.09 2357.13

    Originally posted by odessasteps

    Rob Dibble, of all people, was very good talking about this on the Kornheiser show today. (I've not yet listened to the tape of the Patrick show, to see how he was on there.) He talked about how teams, especially in spring training, try to give alternatives to their players to prevent drinking and driving.




Yes, he was very good, I didn't hear him talk about it much on the Dan Patrick show, didn't hear the whole thing. What I thought was interesting in his interview on the Tony Kornheiser who was that he talked about how the Milwaukee Brewers (who have beer made right there in their city) are a dry team. Meaning people on the team aren't allowed to drink or even smoke when with the team. I think it's great that they do that cause a) this kind of accident won't happen during the season and b) it might get them out of the habit of drinking and smoking during the offseason too, and prevent it from happening then too. Personally I have a lot more respect for the Milwaukee Brewers after hearing that. Some of you may like to smoke and drink and think that the team shouldn't be able to tell them that but personally I think it's a good thing.
odessasteps
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#6 Posted on 13.3.02 1804.22
Reposted on: 13.3.09 1808.55
Authorities: Darr was legally drunk in fatal crash

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Associated Press


PHOENIX -- San Diego Padres outfielder Mike Darr was legally drunk when he rolled the SUV he was driving and died last month, authorities said Wednesday.


Darr, 25, and Duane Johnson, 23, were killed in a Feb. 15 accident near the Padres' spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz.


Darr and Johnson weren't wearing seat belts and were ejected. Minor league pitcher Ben Howard, 23, who was in the back seat, was wearing his seat belt and walked away with just scratches.


Darr's blood-alcohol level was 0.11 percent, The Arizona Republic reported on its Web site Wednesday. The state's legal limit is 0.08.


It's unclear, however, whether alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash, said Officer Frank Valenzuela, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The primary cause may have been driver inattention, he said.


Investigators also determined that Darr was driving at 65 mph, the legal speed limit where the crash occurred, Valenzuela said.


The Padres had no comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

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